PERUVIAN CUISINE JUST might be the most exciting thing happening in the global culinary scene that you don’t know about. That’s probably because “Peruvian” doesn’t yet bring to mind a strong, concrete image. Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Indian — these gastronomic brands bring something familiar to the imagination. There’s a specific meal or dish we can’t help but come back to.
That’s not the case with Peruvian, though that’s not altogether surprising. Despite Lima’s evolution into one of the world’s preeminent culinary cities, Peruvian cuisine comprises too many things to bring just one meal, just one taste, to immediate recollection. To begin with, there are indigenous influences — most prominently the Incans, whose historic empire you’re likely familiar with from that postcard view of Machu Picchu.
Immigrants from Spain, Italy and Germany offered their touch alongside incoming Asian and West African populations. Tastes and ingredients were modified based on what was available in this unfamiliar slice of land along western South America, blending with the four original staples of Peruvian cooking: rice, potatoes, quinoa and beans. Over time, this hodgepodge of cultures on a plate developed into a paragon of fusion cuisine, which U.S. food critic Eric Asimov of The New York Times described as “one of the great cuisines of the world.” That’